The preclinical and clinical research will focus on discovering mechanisms and identifying new biological targets for intervention that have the potential of being starting points for successful and commercially viable treatments to tackle these diseases that are major risk factors for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.
Obesity and type 2 diabetes are now widely regarded as the largest and most rapidly growing health problems. Obesity has reached epidemic proportions globally, with more than 1 billion adults and 150 million children overweight - of whom 200-500 million are clinically obese â and obesity is a major contributor to the global burden of chronic disease and disability, according to the World Health Organization. In addition, it is estimated that almost 250 million people (between the ages of 20-79) worldwide have diabetes and 3.8 million deaths are attributable to diabetes each year. The number of people (between the ages of 20-79) with diabetes is expected to rise to 380 million by 2025. Obesity is a major contributor to risk of type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Rudolph Leibel, head of Molecular Genetics and co-director of the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center at Columbia University Medical Center said: "Our scientists are delighted to collaborate with AstraZeneca. Our mutual focus on novel and translational science is an excellent fit between the two organizations, and active, ongoing scientific exchange will be the basis for this collaboration. We are in the process of establishing the joint project teams that will work to translate biological concepts developed in experimental models to patients, as well as to establish clinical methodologies designed to test novel therapeutic concepts in a timely way in humans."
Jan Lundberg, Executive Vice President Discovery Research, AstraZeneca, said: "AstraZeneca is determined to be a significant contributor to the resolution of the health problems that stem from the pandemic of diabetes and obesity. Columbia University Medical Center has outstanding expertise and skills in discovery research, as well as in translational science. With this being our first metabolic related disease research collaboration with a U.S. academic medical centre, we are very excited to be teaming up with such a distinguished and like-minded partner who shares our commitment to pursuing novel medical solutions to tackle these diseases where the unmet medical need is so great."
The agreement supports a multi-year relationship aiming to make efficient use of the best scientific expertise from both Columbia University Medical Center and AstraZeneca to find optimal treatments for patients with these diseases as quickly as possible.
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of $29.55 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines. For more information visit www.astrazeneca.com.
About Columbia University Medical Center
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, pre-clinical and clinical research, in medical and health sciences education, and in patient care. The medical center trains future health care leaders at the College of Physicians & Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. CUMC (www.cumc.columbia.edu) is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and state and one of the largest in the United States. Columbia University's technology transfer organization, Science and Technology Ventures, serves as a bridge between Columbia's researchers and the business community. STV's core objective is to facilitate the transfer of inventions from academic research to outside organizations for the benefit of society on a local, national and global basis. For more information on STV, visit http://www.stv.columbia.edu.